Practical Guide for Effective Board Meeting for Startups

This are the five tips that founders can use to make their board meetings more productive and positive for everyone involved.

Practical Guide for Effective Board Meeting for Startups
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Board meetings can be extremely effective in providing founders with valuable feedback, ideas, and strategic direction. Founders frequently despise board meetings and regard them as low-return events. Here are five tips that founders can use to make their board meetings more productive and positive for everyone involved.

What is Board Meeting ?

A board meeting is a private gathering of the directors, or board members, of a company to discuss how the business is doing and make sure it is headed in the proper way. The company's financial information, product roadmap, milestones, and KPIS will also be presented at most meetings by key management, such the CFO, CEO, general counsel, or co-founders. Board meetings may also be used to reach consensus on resolutions that can be enacted in the areas of administration and strategy. These resolutions, such as the company's budget for the upcoming fiscal year or the awarding of stock options to employees, will need to be reviewed and voted on.

How frequently should Board Meet be conducted?

The board of directors must meet frequently enough to make sure they are fulfilling their obligations as directors, but there is no set minimum or maximum for how often they must meet. In order to give directors significant measurements and data on the company's progress, board meetings must be held frequently enough. Typically, this occurs once every three months. However, if the business ever needs to make urgent decisions on strategic matters or adopt resolutions, like for instance during a fundraising campaign, board meetings can also be conducted more frequently and with shorter notice.

5 Tips For An Effective Board Meeting

5 Tips For An Effective Board Meeting | Jordensky
5 Tips For An Effective Board Meeting

Tip 1: Set the Right Agenda

You must plan and set the agenda well in advance with the board of directors for the meeting. Here are few points that should be part of board meeting schedule?

  • CEO update on accomplishments and challenges
  • KPIs and Core Metrics
  • Financials for the company
  • Organizational and Human Resource issues
  • Product Development and Delivery Status
  • 2-3 key topics on which to delve deeply

Make sure to go over this agenda with your board's chairperson as you create it. Their primary responsibility is to confirm the agenda for the board meeting and before proceeding with the update, ensure that you and the chairperson are on the same page. There should be no major surprises for any of your board members, and especially not for the chairperson.

Tip 2: Your Board Meeting is not a Status Update

Jordensky has first hand experience with founders writing up slides with a "status update" and then spending 80% of the valuable time in the meeting presenting (more like reading) those slides. Reading status updates to board members is a time-consuming and inefficient use of resources. Instead, founders should spend 80% of the meeting time focusing on deep key issues and only 20% on status updates.

Board update documents should be created by founders and distributed to board members 2-3 days before the meeting.

When you send out the deck, make it clear that you expect board members to read the update ahead of time. Then, during the meeting, you'll be able to quickly go over those slides and answer any questions from your board members. This will allow you to devote the vast majority of the meeting to an in-depth discussion of the key issues confronting your company. Don't forget to thank your board members for reading the materials ahead of time so you can spend your time together on what matters most.

Tip 3: Focus on Key Issues

How do you determine what a "key issue" is ? Well you should ask yourself "What's keeping you awake?" to get the answer.

Consider what is interfering with your sleep schedule. Those are the key issues you'll want to spend 80% of your board meeting time discussing. Identify what you'll be focusing on in your board deck and include the background information your board will need to engage in a rich discussion. Set aside 20-30 minutes for each issue to be discussed. Typically, 2-3 key issues are discussed at each meeting.

Tip 4: Manage your Board

As we have mentioned in our first tip, board members hate to be surprised. In saying that, we’re talking about negative surprises. If you have any negative news, reach out BEFORE the meeting to avoid any negative surprises. Typically, you should do so on the phone, but it doesn’t need to be a long call. Just provide a short briefing on the issue to ensure that the first time your board members get the news is NOT when they get the board deck. Remind them that you’ll have more information on the topic in the board update.

Tip 5: Put the Board to Work

Board members are there to provide value and advice, so don't be afraid to ask. You CAN request that your board members take on assignments and follow up with you. You should, in fact. When a board member says they can help you with an issue or offers advice during a board meeting, ask if they mind following up on the issue. Ensure that whoever is in charge of taking notes during the meeting is aware of their commitment. Summarize those commitments and obtain final confirmation of your board member's intent to take on those responsibilities near the end of the board meeting.

These are the five suggestions for making the most of your next board meeting. Put them to the test, and we guarantee that your next board meeting will be a valuable experience rather than a dreaded, tedious event.

Frequently Asked Questions

Que: What function does the board serve?
A: The board's responsibility is to support the company's success! Don't be reluctant to seek counsel from your board member outside of regularly scheduled board sessions. In order to prevent them from being caught off guard by potential problems, you should also get their advice on important action items prior to board meetings.

Que: What topics ought to be covered at the board meeting?
A: Have a meeting with the executive officers and decide on the most important topics for the board to consider. This should cover any positive or negative news, matters that would benefit from board guidance, and matters that require board approval.
Distribute the list of important issues to the directors in advance, and if any of them seem contentious, speak with specific board members to find out if they have any additional worries.

Que: How should the meeting's minutes be taken?
A: Request that your team member record the meeting in writing. Minutes should be a high-level recap of the discussion and not include any sensitive material.

About Jordensky

At Jordensky, we are committed to providing an experience of the highest caliber while specializing in accounting, taxes, MIS, and CFO services for startups and expanding businesses.

When you work with Jordensky, you get a team of finance experts who take the finance work off your plate– ”so you can focus on your business.

Also read,

Explained What is Startup and Common Startup Terms | Jordensky

Startup India Registration - Defination, Benifits and Documents | Jordensky

Akash Bagrecha

Co-Founder of Jordensky